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The Art of Sales Storytelling.

As anyone that has ever worked with me knows I almost always interject a story in the process of closing a deal. It’s just how my noggin works. It’s how I roll. I have mastered the craft of sales storytelling.

 


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I can’t help it. As I am talking to someone certain phrases and/or keywords just pop stories into my mind. Stories from my past, present, and gleaned from others. I have learned to embrace this genetic passion (I come from a long line of storytellers) by focusing the stories to the conversation and solution at hand. This has worked well for me for years. How about you?

Why I think storytelling is a key sales tool in closing deals.

Storytelling makes your proposition memorable. In the sales process, as unique as we think we are, all sales presentations start to sound the same. I know, I know, that just can’t be. Trust me, I was on the recipient end as a business owner for years and they do. With that said, throw in a couple of well placed pertinent stories… now I can differentiate you from the others. I have now peered into your persona at some level. You are more than someone trying to squeeze a buck from me. You make sense that I can relate to at a different personal level.

Obviously most sales professionals feel they do this successfully. In reality many don’t. Let’s turn that around.

10 items to think about before telling a story.

I try to stay on top of great case studies and stories that are relevant to my industry and any vertical I’m working. Good or bad. Then use these stories to drive home my product as a powerful solution. With my years of experience I have stories for just about every situation. I don’t abuse this however. Too much of a good thing is simply not good. As a matter of fact stories can become irritating if not used properly. Below are 10 items to think about before telling a story.

1.) Storytelling can help you with your remarkable message if done properly.

2.) Storytelling should not be confused with rambling on various subjects not specific to the end goal. It should always have a purpose.

3.) Storytelling makes the recipient, potential customer, more relaxed.

4.) Storytelling should never include items that you wouldn’t tell your grandma about. Well at least my grandma anyways.

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” ― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

5.) Make sure you get to the point quickly.

6.) Never one-up the recipient with a “better” story. Very challenging for me personally.

7.) Never start a meeting with a story when you were just told there was a time constraint. As the conversation proceeds maybe you can slip one in if appropriate and short.

8.) Storytellers do close more deals.

9.) Keep age, religion, and politics out of your storytelling process if at all possible.

10.) Do not embellish. Well at least not too much. There are those out there that may know as much as you and will call you out on your “facts”. Once your credibility is gone it’s gone forever.

Storytelling is more of a practiced art than most understand. It really is something that a sales professional needs to think about and practice prior to usage.

Take some time to perfect your craft. If you feel you’re a less than accomplished storyteller don’t fluff this off as unimportant. It can be a powerful tool that most likely will help you get to that next level desired.

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Chris Lott is a business solutions consultant with over 10 year’s sales management experience including business ownership, product management and marketing. He also owns and contributes to SalesBlog! and totallysales.

 

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